May 31, 2006

My Ancestors Have Been Disgraced

I just seen this news article about the National Anthem being sung in spanish on Ellis Island.

This throughly disgusts me and I am sure my ancestors are spinning in their graves. My Great Grandfather's family and another of my Great Grandfathers family all came through Ellis Island in search of a better life.

They came to america from Scottland and Ireland, speaking no english but learned it quickly so they could become american. They were proud to become american and embraced everything about america.

And here are illegal criminals standing on the very sacred place where my ancestors stood, singing america's national anthem in spanish.

What a disgrace.

My ancestors would never think of doing that, they thought it would have disgraced the national anthem.

You criminals are a disgrace to everyones ancestors that came to america, waited in line and blended into american culture. They never asked for special services so they could fit in, they never took hand-outs, they worked hard for a living, they learned the language so they could fit in and they took pride in singing the national anthem in english, they way it's is suppose to be sung.

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Never Heard Them Described As That Before

Last night we were watching TV and I heard this phrase:

"The sacks are loaded for him"

Who knows what I was watching last night?

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As I have said before, whenever there is a recall of Japanese vehicles nobody ever hears about it, I seen this from a auto news service I subscribe to otherwise I would have never seen it. It wasn't on the news last night or today, and as for the paper it's on the 3rd page, small paragraph in the business section. Now if these were American vehicles this would be the lead story in the news and on the front page of the papers.

You can not tell me that the media is not biased towards the Japanese car companies and are adding to the myth of how horrible the American car companies are.

Reuters reports that Toyota will recall about one million vehicles worldwide for a problem with steering columns on some vehicles, including the Prius and the Corolla. The company filed documents with the Japanese Transport Ministry in which it said it would recall more than 565,000 vehicles in Japan alone, including versions of the Prius built from September 2002 to November 2005. A problem with intermediate steering shafts and sliding yokes could lead to a loss of steering control in affected vehicles. No further information was available at publication.

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Today In Automotive History

1929 Ford signs deal with USSR

The Ford Motor Company signed a "Technical Assistance" contract to produce cars in the Soviet Union. Ford supplied many of the production parts for car manufacturers in the Soviet Union during the 1930s. Soviet factories also used Ford plants as their construction models. The agreement between Ford and the Soviet government also meant that Ford workers were sent to the Soviet Union to train the labor force in the use of its parts. Many laborers, including Walter Reuther, returned form the Soviet Union with a different view of the duties and privileges of the industrial laborer. Reuther, the UAW's president for many years, claimed to have been galvanized by the spirit of the Soviet workforce. It was over a decade, however, before labor unions won major victories in the U.S. Although the labor activists were for the most part not Communist, nor even Communist sympathizers, Ford officials nevertheless used this threat to keep them at bay for years. During McCarthyism, many of the labor officials who had been in the Soviet Union were cited as perpetrators of "un-American activities."

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May 30, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1911 Indy 500 sees first winner

Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indianapolis 500, averaging 74.6mph in the Marmon Wasp. The Indy 500 was the creation of Carl Fisher. In the fall of 1909, Fisher replaced the ruined, crushed-stone surface of his 2.5-mile oval with a brand-new brick one. It was the largest paved, banked oval in the United States. Fisher then made two decisions vital to the success of the Indy 500. First, he determined to hold only one race per year on his Indianapolis Motor Speedway; second, he elected to offer the richest purse in racing as a reward for competing in his annual 500-mile event. By the second year of the Indy 500, 1912, it was the highest-paying, single-day sporting event in the entire world. The purse alone guaranteed that Indy would attract the media's undivided attention. Add to Fisher's marketing tactics the fact that European racing suffered from an absence of major events due to the ban on public road racing, and you have the ingredients that made Indy instantly successful. The media attention, in turn, meant that the best drivers in the world would come to Indy to make their reputation. Manufacturers acknowledged that a car bearing their name would mean millions in free advertising. It's a simple formula by today's standards, but in Fisher's time the risk of putting so much money down was rarely taken. In the very first race at Indy, Harroun's Marmon became nationally recognized. The car was owned, built, and entered by the factory, and Harroun drove as a hired employee. Among the Marmon Wasp's novel features, it is cited as the first car fitted with a rear-view mirror. But if the Indy 500 was responsible for attracting the industry to racing, it was even more responsible for creating racing as an industry. In 1911, the typical race car was built off the chassis of a big luxury car. They had huge four-cylinder engines. Instead of the heavy body of the luxury cars, the race cars were fitted with "doghouse" bodies that just covered the car's engine and cockpit. The floorboards were wood boards, the wheels were made of ash wood, and the seats were metal buckets bolted firmly to the floorboards. The cars were equipped with rear-wheel drum brakes only. Bolster tanks, like tubular sofa bolsters, held the oil and gasoline. Due to the ill-fitting pistons, gaskets, and valves that comprised the cars' innards, the best cars dropped nearly a dozen gallons of oil on the brick racetrack over the course of the 500-mile event. So these cars, equipped with no suspension, raced at speeds near 80mph on a brick track covered in oil. Only a decade later in 1922, nearly all the cars that started the Indy 500 were purpose-built race cars. All of them carried aerodynamic bodies, with narrow grills and teardrop-shaped tails. Knock-off wire wheels made for quick, efficient tire changes, and the new straight-sided tires lasted much longer than their early pneumatic counterparts. The best cars were equipped with four-wheel hydraulic brakes and inline 3.0-liter V-8 engines made of aluminum. The cars were smaller, lighter, more efficient, and far more expensive. They resembled nothing that could be purchased in a storeroom. Ray Harroun's speed of 74.6mph would have finished him 10th at the 1922 Indy 500. It wasn't the speeds that had changed so much as the driver's control over the car. Racing, at least partly because of Indy, had become a sport rather than an exhibition. In the mid-1920s, the Miller and Duesenberg cars took racing to another level. Indy became what it is today, a high-paying event for the world's most expensive cars.

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May 27, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

Today, thirtysomeyearsago, a child was born unto us. A strong willed, independant tomboy. A child who was the parents curse come true. A child given a name in which the spelling would cause much pissed offness throughout that childs life. A child who's name was derived from the song playing on the radio on the car ride to the hospital. (I always say thank-god there were no songs about Bertha on the radio at that time).

The song in which I am named after (with a bit of a spelling difference)

Michelle, ma belle
These are words that go together well
My Michelle

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
tres bien ensemble

I love you, I love you, I love you
that's all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know you'll understand

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
tres bien ensemble

I need to, I need to, I need to
I need to make you see
Oh, what you mean to me
Until I do I'm hoping you will know what I mean
I love you

I want you, I want you, I want you
I think you know by now
I'll get to you some how
Until I do I'm telling you so you'll understand

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
tres bien ensemble
And I will say the only words I know that you'll understand
My Michelle

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May 26, 2006

Friday Doggie Torture Blogging

Board shorts for dogs, who would have thunk it?

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Luau anyone?
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I feel pretty, oh so pretty (hand made by mommy)
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I Raise You A Hamburger Car

The stakes are getting high, Ogre raised my Bug mobile with a Grass Car.

Well I am going to throw the Hamburger Motorcycle on the pile.

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Hattip: Chris's Wierd Car Page

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Good Things Come To Those Who Wait


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Today In Automotive History

1937 Violence breaks out at Ford

Union leaders and Ford Service Department men clashed in a violent confrontation on the Miller Road Overpass outside Gate 4 of the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, on this day in 1937. The clash came three months after the UAW achieved its first landmark victory at Ford, when they had forced the company to negotiate a policy toward organized labor by staging a lengthy sit-down strike at the Rouge complex.

The sit-down strike had succeeded largely because of the support of Michigan Governor Frank Murphy, who protected the strikers' right to bargain collectively. However, the labor agreement did little in the way of changing the day-to-day life of Ford workers. At the time of the victory, the UAW was still a relatively small, well-organized group. Legally, Henry Ford was forced to give ground, but he did not relinquish his opposition to organized laborers. Instead, he allowed Harry Bennett, head of the Ford Service Department, to build an increasingly muscular force of Ford officials charged with the job of maintaining discipline in the workplace. Bennett had, in the past, used what amounted to thug tactics to intimidate workers.

After the sit-down strike, tensions ran high between employees and labor officials. On this day in 1937, UAW organizers Walter Reuther, Bob Kanter, J.J. Kennedy, and Richard Frankensteen were distributing leaflets among the workers at the Rouge complex when they were approached by a gang of Bennett's men. The Ford Servicemen brutally beat the four unionists while many other union sympathizers, including 11 women, were injured in the resulting melee. The attack was no surprise to Ford employees. One man summed up the tone at the Rouge factory: "I was glad to have a job but scared to go to work." One of the Ford servicemen involved in the incident was Elmer Janovski, a 26-year-old ex-bootlegger who had been personally hired by Bennett. "We were told there was trouble--Reuther and Frankensteen were passing out flyers," said Janovski. "I started fighting with them. I didn't poke Reuther, but I poked the others, including the newspaper cameraman."

The newspaper camera operator in question was what made the Battle of the Overpass an extraordinary event. The day after the struggle, all of America was witness to the primitive tactics with which Henry Ford subdued organized laborers who had the law on their side. The publicity didn't end Ford's opposition to organized labor, but it certainly made his eventual acquiescence inevitable. Reuther later recalled the event. He said that anti-union thugs "surrounded us and started to beat us up.... The men picked me up about eight different times and threw me down on my back on the concrete and while I was on the ground, they kicked me in the face and head and other parts of my body."

Ironically, Janovski was fired from Ford and bounced between a number of low-paying jobs at automobile factories before he, too, joined the union. Some time later, he ran into Reuther at a labor rally in Detroit. "I told him that I was one of the guys on the other side at the Overpass," he said. "Reuther told me, 'It's all forgotten... we're all happy now... we're all brothers.' " Today, a reported 5,000 of River Rouge's 13,000 employees cross the Miller Overpass on the way to work. The landmark is a physical reminder of the suffering undertaken by brave workers who strove for a better quality of life.

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May 25, 2006

I See Your Pink Car And I Raise You A Lady Bug

Oh Ya Ogre? Well I see your pink Hamster mobile and I raise you a pink Bug mobile.

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Goberment Should Be Responsible For Illegal Drugs

I have a feeling that this is going to become a not so future lawsuit lottery case. The mother is blaiming the county for not putting out flyers soon enough to save her sons life. What the mother is avoiding saying is that her son died from a HEROIN overdose.

Hey lady, maybe if your son wasn't injecting ILLEGAL drugs this wouldn't have happened to him. The key word being ILLEGAL drugs, HEROIN.

When Justin Wortmann's life ended in December in a White Castle parking lot after he took a dose of heroin, it was a silent warning about an unprecedented crisis now bubbling over in metro Detroit.

His mother, Janice Wortmann of Plymouth Township, learned from autopsy results 8 weeks later that the killer actually was a drug called fentanyl. She called police in Taylor, where her son died Dec. 27.

"The detective told me they didn't have the manpower to look for a dealer, that they were on every street corner," she said.

Police responded that they tried, to no avail.

Again the key words being ILLEGAL and HEROIN.

Wortmann, 47, wonders whether the death of her 26-year-old son could have been prevented.

"Maybe if they took me seriously they could have gone to the source," Wortmann said Wednesday. "Maybe this wouldn't be happening now."

Like they know the source of where he bought his ILLEGAL drugs. If they knew that don't you think this person would have already been arrested?

The deaths are becoming an epidemic around Metro Detroit.

Local toxicologists say they've seen a steady increase in fentanyl-related deaths since last fall, but nothing prepared them for the jump that began last week: At least 23 people have died in Wayne County since May 18 from what investigators believe was a lethal combination of heroin or cocaine and fentanyl, a prescription painkiller typically given to terminally ill patients for pain.

Workers are distributing flyers in areas known to be frequented by drug users that warn of the dangers of using heroin or cocaine laced with fentanyl, which they might not be aware they are buying.

Again, these people are taking ILLEGAL drugs. This isn't something that is approved and manufacturing watched over by the FDA.

Janice Wortmann, whose son died in December, said she has relived the loss because of the deaths in the past week.

"This should not be happening at all. It shouldn't have happened to my son," she said. "I know exactly what these parents are going through."

Last night on the news she said that if they had put flyers up earlier her son would have seen them and then he wouldn't have done the HEROIN. She also stated that she is holding the county responsible for not warning people who do HEROIN about this problem. The statements that she has said just smacks of her contacting a lawyer to sue the county for allowing her son to do a deadly combination of ILLEGAL HEROIN.

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Today In Automotive History

1898 Haynes-Apperson Company is born

Elwood Haynes and Elmer Apperson organized the Haynes-Apperson Company in Kokomo, Indiana. Credited with having built America's first gas-powered car for much of his lifetime, Elwood Haynes was one of the most brilliant inventors in the early car industry. The Haynes-Apperson Company was his first foray into the mass production of cars. Together, the pair expected to manufacture 50 cars per year. Most famous as a metallurgist, Haynes was the first man to outfit his cars with all-aluminum engines, and to build his car bodies of nickel-plated steel. Haynes and Apperson shocked the world when they fulfilled the terms of a buyer's agreement by delivering their car from Kokomo to New York City. It was the first 1,000-mile car trip undertaken in the United States.

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May 23, 2006

Dead Critter Count


That is how many dead critters I passed on my way to work today.

I had been thinking that I was seeing a lot of dead critters driving to and from work so today I decided to count how many there were.

That is a lot of dead critters.

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Today In Automotive History

1934 Bonnie And Clyde meet their maker

Clyde Champion Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police officers as they attempted to escape apprehension in a stolen 1934 Ford V-8 near Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in 1930 while the 19-year-old Bonnie was tending bar. At the time, Bonnie was married to an imprisoned murderer. Soon after the two met, Clyde was arrested for burglary and sent to prison. Bonnie smuggled a pistol into the prison, and Clyde broke out. Over the course of their crime spree together, Bonnie and Clyde were believed to have committed 13 murders and several robberies and burglaries. For over two years, the couple evaded local police officers in rural counties of Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Not until the FBI, then called the Bureau of Investigation, became involved in the case did law-enforcement officials gain ground on Bonnie and Clyde.

The Bureau of Investigation, curiously enough, could only investigate the two on the grounds of the National Motor Vehicle Act, which stipulated that federal agents had jurisdiction to pursue suspects accused of interstate transportation of a stolen automobile. Investigators initially traced a stolen vehicle to the house of Clyde Barrow's aunt. As officers stepped up the pressure to catch Bonnie and Clyde, the well-armed couple went about adding to their own firepower. They were joined by Clyde's brother, Buck Barrow, along with his wife. Later they were joined by escaped murderer Raymond Hamilton. In the spring of 1934, following tireless investigations, federal agents traced the gang to a remote county in Southwest Louisiana. A certain Methvin family was said to have been aiding and abetting the Bonnie-and-Clyde gang for over a year.

It was learned that Bonnie and Clyde, along with some of the Methvins, had staged a party at Black Lake, Louisiana, on the night of May 21. Two days later, just before dawn, a posse of police officers from Texas and Louisiana, including Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, laid an ambush for Bonnie and Clyde along the highway near Sailes, Louisiana. In the early morning, Bonnie and Clyde appeared in their automobile. The officers reported that the couple attempted to flee, but more likely, owing to the fact that Bonnie and Clyde had killed five policemen, the posse opened fire without warning. For two minutes, deputies showered the car with bullets. Both Bonnie and Clyde were killed in the barrage. Their bullet-riddled 1934 Ford later became a valuable collectible. Bonnie and Clyde gained a place in popular mythology as dustbowl Robin Hoods.

The 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty as Clyde and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie, portrayed a charming and irreverent pair who took their game too far. Examination of the couple's past, as well as an examination of their victims, shows that Bonnie and Clyde were more likely carefree killers. Their popularity owed to the mistrust of the authorities of the Dustbowl during the Depression era, and to the couple's uncanny ability to elude the police for over two years.

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May 22, 2006

Daimler Chrysler Shits On America

Ever wonder how International companies, heavy invested in America promote their business and goods outside of America?

This is how Daimler Chrysler promotes it's Smart Car outside of America.

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Guess your going to rush out and buy a Smart Car now? How bout a Chrysler?

Yea, DCX can bite my big, white, real American car buying ass.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today In Automotive History

1977 First woman qualifies for Indy

Janet Guthrie became the first female to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Guthrie failed to finish the 1977 race due to mechanical troubles. The next year, however, she not only finished the race but landed in ninth place, a remarkable achievement considering her meager race funding. Guthrie explains her career beginning as the result of her passion for adrenaline rush and the purchase of her first sports car. "I've always loved adventure," she said. "I went parachuting when I was 16, and got my pilot's license when I was 17. I went to school for physics... and when I got out of school I bought a Jaguar, from my $125-a -week salary and my superb sense of moderation." After 13 years of racing, Guthrie's break came when she was asked to test a car at Indy. Her participation brought her immediate fame. Many men objected strongly to her driving at Indy. "The alarm and commotion took me by surprise," she said. "The woman part of my participation was irrelevant to anything on the track. But people thought we were plotting a revolution... they said women will endanger our lives." Guthrie responded to the criticism simply by racing the best she could. "In racing there is no room for a readout from your nervous system. Your body becomes part of the machine." Guthrie gave up her dream of becoming an Indy Car driver for financial reasons, which she cites as a major obstacle to women becoming involved in the sport. "Drag racing gets more women because it costs about a tenth of Indy Car racing. It's a very expensive sport. I managed to make do with $120,000 I got from Texaco, but most drivers have between two and three million dollars to work with."

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May 20, 2006

Nailed This One

Your Ideal Pet is a Little Dog
You're both high strung, hyper, and cute.
You're one of the few people who can get away with carrying your little dog in a little bag.
What's Your Ideal Pet?

Found at Ogre's View

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May 19, 2006

Friday Doggie Blogging

Sleeping puppies, they love sleeping on top of each other.

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Today In Automotive History

1991 Racing against racism

In a sport not known for embracing diversity, racer Willy T. Ribbs became the first African-American driver to qualify for the Indy 500 on this date in 1991.

Ribbs, a Californian, objects to the obstacles placed in front of African-American racers: "Here we are, moving into a new millennium, and auto racing still looks like 1939 baseball." Ribbs's achievement at Indy is especially remarkable, as the cost of running at Indy normally deters racers who don't have powerful corporate sponsors. While stock-car racing is more accessible financially, the sport hasn't fared any better in attracting African-American participants. NASCAR officials, however, don't feel the lack of African-American racers is a reflection of racism within the sport. Longtime President Bill France explained his case: "America is what America is today. Anybody can be anything, regardless of your race or your national origin. You can't cast a wand and make everything happen that somebody wants to happen."

In the 50 years of NASCAR history, only Wendell Scott ever won a race. One explanation for the dearth of African-American racers is that car racing is a hereditary sport. Most racers come from racing families. By that criterion, however, the Scott family could have continued racing. Wendell Scott, using secondhand equipment, set the sport on fire 25 years ago with his fearless attitude and abundant talent. "Had the sport offered more help to the Scotts, others would have been inspired by us in another generation," said Wendell Scott Jr. "They nipped us in the bud." An example: In 1963, Scott won a race in Jacksonville, and the race officials, fearing a reaction from the crowd, presented the trophy to another driver. They gave Scott the trophy after the crowd had left. Ribbs also believes that corporations are reluctant to offer sponsorship to African-American drivers, because they don't believe these racers will be financially beneficial to their brands. Even the NASCAR team owned by former NFL running-back Joe Washington and former NBA legend Julius Erving cannot guarantee an African-American driver behind the wheel of its car. Washington and Erving started the first wholly minority-owned team since Scott and his sons left competition over 25 years ago. Kathy Thompson, a representative for the team, explained their predicament: "To get into a Winston Cup car is dangerous. I wouldn't want to race against Dale Earnhardt or Jeff Gordon without experience. That's suicide. I wouldn't want that on my conscience, somebody getting out there who wasn't ready."

The fact remains that large African-American communities exist in the regions where NASCAR's fan base is strongest. It wouldn't take much for NASCAR to foster a more openly encouraging attitude toward minorities in racing--and who knows, maybe the sport will be rewarded with a great champion. Baseball came a long way after 1939.

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May 18, 2006

I'm Paranoid

Christ Almighty, a paranoid leader. Do they know who I am or what?

Found at blogsis Boudicca's place.

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by

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Today In Automotive History

1958 Lotus makes Formula One debut

The Lotus made its Formula One debut at the Monaco Grand Prix with Cliff Allison finishing in fifth place. The Lotus Engineering Company was founded by Colin Chapman in 1952 as a result of Chapman's great success in building and racing trial cars. Located in Norfolk, England, Lotus has become over the last few decades one of racing's most dominant teams. Currently limited to Formula One competition, Lotus was initially a diverse racing team. Lotus dominated Le Mans in the '50s. The mid-1960s saw the Golden Age of Lotus racing as its British drivers Jim Clark and Graham Hill enjoyed great success. Jim Clark won the first World Driver's Championship for Lotus in 1963. Lotus has in recent years been represented by such virtuoso drivers as Emmerson Fittipaldi and Alessandro Zanardi.

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May 17, 2006

Offical Cooler Of The Bad Example Family

Cruzin Cooler!

Yep, a cooler you can ride on!


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Today In Automotive History

1890 Levassor and Sarazin wed

Emile Levassor married Louise Sarazin, the widow of Edouard Sarazin and the French distributor of Daimler engines. The marriage set the stage for Levassor's business venture, Panhard et Levassor, which would use Daimler engines in its cars. Emile, France's premier car racer before the turn of the century, set an early record by driving from Paris to Bordeaux and back at an average of 14.9mph in 1895. His cutting-edge Panhard had a 2.4 liter engine and produced only 4hp. Just two years later, Levassor's Daimler engine was capable of pushing the lightweight, wood-framed Panhard to over 70mph. Imagine driving at that speed on bumpy, dusty roads, sitting on a wooden plank bolted to a frame with no suspension.

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May 16, 2006

Life Lesson #72

When cleaning your toliet bowl keep your mouth closed.

*note to self: buy more Listerine*

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Today In Automotive History

1956 GM dedicates new center

General Motors (GM) dedicates its brand-new, $125 million GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. The Center, or at least its breathtaking style and dimension, was the product of Alfred Sloan and GM stylist Harley Earl.

Born to Hollywood affluence, Earl never lost his movie-star flair. He is famous for being the automotive industry's first "stylist." In reality, he was a car architect. He achieved fame for his design of GM's 1927 LaSalle. The LaSalle was the first production car to offer a sleek, long and rounded look to its buyers. By later standards, the LaSalle still looks, in its designer's words, "top-heavy and stiff-shouldered," but at the time of its unveiling, it was enough to make Earls' career.

Earl was brought to GM by Alfred Sloan, the company's almighty president. Sloan created a new department for Earl, at the head of which Earl would oversee the styling for all GM cars. Earl began his incremental quest for longer, lower cars. Why? Said Earl, "Because my sense of proportion tells me that oblongs are more attractive than squares, just as a ranch house is more attractive than a three-story, flat-roofed house or a greyhound is more graceful than an English bulldog."

Earl's sense of proportion never exactly fit with the other vice presidents at GM. First of all, he stood six feet, four inches tall. The well-tanned Earl kept identical suits in his office so that he would never wrinkle over the course of a workday. This stylish approach to life rubbed many of Detroit's staunch executives the wrong way. Earl's major conflicts came with the GM body division, headed by the Fisher Brothers. The Body Division was in charge of turning Earl's artwork into roadworthy realities. Earl was often dissatisfied with their product, and he showed open contempt for the Fisher Brothers, whom he dubbed "the Seven Dwarves." The Fishers, in turn, weren't sure Earl was as practical as he could have been.

Earl remains a larger-than-life figure in the pantheon of automotive history. Often credited with breakthroughs that he managed to promote better than the ideas' originators, Earl can be viewed in hindsight as a showman. But his artistic sense cannot be denied, nor can his impact on the artistic leanings of the automotive industry. Earl, as much as anyone, was responsible for the glorious aesthetic renaissance of 1950s Detroit. When Alfred Sloan suggested that GM should build a compound to house the company's research activities, it was Earl who urged him to create a structure that was architecturally and aesthetically distinctive. Ignoring his peers' pleas for practicality, Sloan allowed Earl to enlist the architectural skills of Eliel and Eero Saarinen. Today, the GM Technical Center is one of the landmarks of twentieth-century architecture. The aluminum-sheathed dome that houses its stylish auditorium stands a fitting monument to Harley Earl's legacy.

A $1 billion dollar renovation of the GM Technical Center was completed in 2003.

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May 15, 2006

Japanese Have Hissy Fit

Japanese, Toyota Go Postal as Dollar Sinks

Executives from the old Big Three are scheduled to meet with President George W. Bush soon, and one likely item on the agenda is Japanese effort to suppress the value of yen. The meeting is particularly timely because, according to the wire service reports out of Tokyo, the Japanese finance minister apparently had a major hissy fit last week because the yen's value had drifted up as the value of the dollar declined.
Executives tied to the American manufacturing sector have argued for years that the U.S. dollar was overvalued and a drop in the dollar's value would help boost American exports and start to reverse the huge trade deficit. However, executives in the finance, retail, and resource sectors, which benefit from a strong dollar, have never been as keen on the idea of reducing the value of the U.S. dollar. A weaker dollar also contributes to the threat of inflation. Moreover, the stated policy of the Bush administration has been in favor of a strong dollar.

Last week, however, commentators suggested there were signs that administration was now tilting in the direction of a cheaper dollar. A cheaper dollar would make it more expensive for Asian and European carmakers to import vehicles and pieces of vehicles into the United States. The shift also has made it more expensive for American carmakers to build vehicles in Canada; the value of the Canadian dollar is at its highest level in nearly two decades.

Executives at GM have complained for years that Japanese automakers have benefited from their government's systematic interventions in currency markets that help drive up the value of the dollar and drive down the value of the yen. The Japanese government's intervention is the equivalent of direct subsidy to companies such as Toyota, which has benefited also from government-run health and pension plans.
The debate over the value of the dollar also has short-term consequences. Stocks faced a second day of steep losses Friday, as the dollar weakened when a jump in import prices heightened fear of inflation. -Joe Szczesny

Hattip: The Car Connection
(bold and italics my emphasis)

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Today In Automotive History

1918 Nantucket lifts car ban

Nantucket Island voted to lift its controversial 12-year ban on automobiles. First famous as an insular whaling community off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Nantucket Island has become one of the Northeast's most exclusive tourist attractions. The original inhabitants of Nantucket were predictably resistant to the idea of automobiles overrunning their island. While the advent of the motor car didn't spell disaster for the island then, the fears of early residents may yet become a reality. As Nantucket's popularity rises, even the year-long waiting list for the car ferry can't seem to stem the tide of vehicles. The island's tourist board has attempted to institute an affordable and reliable island shuttle, but vacationers in this country want to go wherever their cars will take them. A delicate ecological structure of bogs, tidal thickets, and dune beaches, Nantucket is susceptible to the pollutants and erosion problems brought on by the increasing numbers of vehicles. The new Nantucket "natives," largely seasonal retirees, have pooled their not insignificant resources with the purpose of protecting the island. Others, though, accuse the conservationists of only wanting to conserve an uncrowded escape from their East Coast power perches.

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May 12, 2006

Friday Doggie Blogging

It's warm enough out for just a jean jacket, even the puppies have them!

Free Image Hosting at

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Today In Automotive History

1957 A.J. Foyt wins first major race

A.J. Foyt won his first major race, a midget car race in Kansas City, Missouri. The tough Texan raced everything from midget cars to stock cars before he finally settled on Indy Car racing. Foyt would go on to become one of the greatest Indy Car racers of all time, winning a record 67 championship races and seven championship series titles. He is one of only three men to have won four Indianapolis 500s, winning in 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977. In Foyt's first championship, a late-fuel stop nearly cost him the race he had worked so hard to win. Fortunately, competitor Eddie Sachs, who had taken the lead from Foyt during the fuel stop, had to a make a fluke tire change in the last few laps of the race, giving Foyt his first Indy 500 crown. Foyt was so overwhelmed by the post-race excitement that he sneaked out for a burger. "We had so many people congratulatin' us, talkin' and all that," he recalled. "Hell, I was hungry, so I just pulled over to White Castle. Hamburgers, I think, were 10¢ or 12¢ apiece." His 1964 victory was marred by the tragic deaths of fellow racers Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonalds. The 1967 Indy 500 saw Foyt drive a Coyote of his own design to victory. His father, Tony, was chief mechanic. "What really made me feel good," said Foyt, "is I built my own car, drove my own car, and my father was chief mechanic." Perhaps Foyt's greatest achievement was his 1977 victory, when Foyt became the first man to win the Indy four times in front of track owner Tony Hulman. Hulman had acted as a mentor to Foyt, and he rode a victory lap with Foyt after the 1977 race. A.J. Foyt now runs A.J. Foyt Enterprises from his home city of Houston, Texas. He founded the Foyt Race Team in 1965. His multifarious business interests include car dealerships, funeral service businesses, oil investments, and thoroughbred racehorses.

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May 11, 2006

Guys Losing Knowledge On Cars

Car care is for guys, questions are for women? Toss that tired stereotype down the environmentally conscientious drain. A new survey taken by the slick folks at Jiffy Lube says that guys aren't giving gals the best advice on car care, despite a majority of both sexes believing men know more on the subject. Two-thirds of men gave the wrong answer when asked where tire-inflation guidelines are printed on a car, versus 45 percent of women (hint: it's usually on a sticker in the door jamb). Similar ratios of men to women thought that switching to synthetic oil gave them more time between oil changes - a wrong assumption, the oil-change specialists say. And, it turns out, women polled knew just as much about replacing wiper blades and how underinflated tires can sap gas mileage as men.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today In Automotive History

1916 Durant buys Delco

Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds agreed to sell their Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco) to the United Motors Corporation, a holding company founded by William C. Durant in his attempt to regain control of General Motors (GM). Deeds and Kettering both left the National Cash Register Company--where Kettering had invented the motor that made the electric cash register possible--in order to start Delco. Originally a research and development company, Delco began manufacturing in order to meet the demand for the self-starter that Kettering invented for Durant's Cadillac Corporation. Despite the fact that Durant had spurred on Kettering to invent the self-starter, Delco would sell self-starters to anyone who ordered them. After Durant regained control of GM in the spring of 1916, he moved to make certain that GM would have primary availability to Delco's parts. In a dramatic restructuring which pulled together some of GM's most vital part suppliers, Durant integrated five previously independent companies under the name of the United Motors Corporation. All of these companies would later fall under the GM name. Kettering went on to play a vital role in GM's research and development over the next two decades.

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May 09, 2006

Why It's Good To Work For A Real Company

With Real Suppliers!

I was just invite, along with a guest, to a Detroit Tiger game next Tuesday.



Called Mr Weenie and I think he had an orgasim. (He is a HUGE baseball fan)

The supplier is having a little shin-dig for it's customers, and since I am now one of their customers they invited me and a guest of mine. Complete with lots of food!

I can't wait!

I imagine Mr Weenie is telling everyone he knows at work and calling all his friends to let them know where he will be next Tuesday.

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Today In Automotive History

1970 UAW head dies in crash

Walter Reuther, president of the UAW since 1946, died in an airplane crash at age 62. Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, to German immigrants, Reuther's socialist leanings were fostered by his father, Valentine. A master brewer, Valentine had left Germany to escape the repressive Lutheran authorities there, and to avoid what he viewed as the increasing militarization of his homeland. He imbued his three sons, Walter, Victor, and Roy, with the values of labor organization and social equality. Walter dropped out of high school to become an apprentice die maker at the Wheeling Steel Company. Before he could finish his training, he moved to Detroit during the heavy production years of the Model T, and talked his way into a job as a die maker in a Ford factory. Reuther returned to high school while working at the Ford plant, and he maintained his interest in Socialism and organized labor. During the Depression, he and his brothers traveled to Germany to visit their relatives. The trip proved formative as the totalitarian conditions in Germany, and the bitter split between the National Socialists and the Left, disappointed the brothers terribly. They even briefly ran pamphlets for the Socialist underground there. They continued on to Russia, where Walter employed his skill as a die maker in Russian auto plants that had purchased Ford machinery. They remained in Gorki from 1933 to 1935. Reuther was greatly moved by the camaraderie of the autoworkers there. "To a Ford employee especially," he said, "[the social and cultural life] was absorbing." Reuther returned to Detroit, and began his career as an activist and labor organizer. At first considered a radical and a Communist, Reuther worked his way up the ranks of the UAW as the union became a more and more legitimate force. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal reached out to the leftist elements of the labor movement, and in response Reuther's left moved center to meet the Democratic Party. Reuther played vital roles in the formation of the UAW and in the merger of the AFL-CIO. He championed integrationist policies when few other labor organizers cared, "The UAW-CIO will tell any worker that refused to work with a colored worker that he could leave the plant because he did not belong there." During Reuther's benevolent reign atop the ranks of the UAW, autoworkers became members of the middle class, as measured by earnings, employment security, medical care, and retirement pensions.

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May 08, 2006

Name That Blimp - Short List

I did a post on Goodyears newest Blimp and Goodyear wanting the public to name their blimp.

Well, the short list is out and it is voting time. You can vote on line at Name The Blimp

Short List:
1. American Dream 6. Pride of America
2. Freedom 7. Spirit of Endurance
3. Liberty 8. Spirit of Ingenuity
4. Patriot 9. Spirit of Innovation
5. Patriot of Peace 10. The Spirit of Peace

Full article here

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Today In Automotive History

1933 First police radios installed

The first police radio system, connecting headquarters to patrol cars and patrol cars to one another, was installed in Eastchester Township, New York, by Radio Engineering Laboratories of Long Island City, New York. The township contracted with the company for one transmitter of 20 watts for the headquarters and two transmitters of 4.5 volts each for the two patrol cars. Among its other uses, the police radio system became a popular prop for radio, television, and film drama. From the basic "Calling all cars!" exclamations of early radio drama to the poignant use of police radio in the 1965 film The Chase (with Marlon Brando, Robert Redford, and Robert Duvall), the police radio system became a dramatic device as essential to twentieth-century narratives, as was the royal emissary in the days of Shakespeare.

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May 06, 2006

11 Years!

11 years, seems like a lifetime but yet it doesn't seem long at all. I
look back and think gosh 11 years, really has it been that long. Guess
when they say time flys when your having it really is true.

11 years ago today Mr Weenie and I danced our first dance together to
"By the time this night is over" by Kenny G and Peabo Bryson.

Silence takes over
Saying all we need to say
Theres endless possibilites
In the moves we can make.
Your kiss is giving every indication
If this heart of mine is right.

By the time this night is over
The stars are gonna shine on two lovers in love
And when the morning comes
Its gonna find us together
In a love thats just begun.
By the time this night is over
Two hearts are gonna fly to the heavens above
And well get closer and closer and closer
By the time this night is over.

Lets take a slow and easy ride
Just lay back, and let love take us over
Theres magic here with you and I
And its gonna take us all the way.
Lets find some kind of a deeper conversation
And darling if its right.


A night like this may never come again
And you wont want this lie to end
Oh baby we can have it all
By the time this night is...over.


Oh, gonna wrap my lovin arms around you.
Heavens gonna smile, gonna smile on two lovers...

I told our story last year in this post.

Happy Anniversary Mr Weenie!

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May 05, 2006

Top Ten Driving Pet Peeves

The Hagerty Insurance company did an informal survey on their websit asking drivers for their driving pet peeves. I bolded my pet peeves.

1. Distracted drivers talking on cell phones (Motor Mouths)

2. Slow drivers in the fast lane (Turtle Racers)

3. Pushy drivers who tailgate (Piggybackers)

4. Drivers who weave through traffic to gain one or two car lengths (Wacky Weavers)

5. Obnoxious drivers who speed up to keep you from changing lanes (Gap Snatchers)

6. Hasty drivers who change lanes without signaling (Space Invaders)
7. Road Rage (Road Ragers)

8. Motorcyclists who race down the middle of a lane, between cars (Speed Racers)

9. Women applying makeup and men shaving (Driving Divas)

10. Drivers who leave their turn signal on for miles (Morse Coders)

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Today In Automotive History

1914 "Cannonball" begins journey across continent

Erwin "Cannonball" Baker began the cross-continental motorcycle trip that would influence the way Americans would think of the "big bike" forever more. Big, strong, and lanky, Baker discovered after buying his first motorcycle that he possessed something like superhuman endurance for riding. In 1912, he began training for his long-distance odyssey by arranging for a number of smaller feats. He rode across Cuba, Jamaica, and Panama before taking a steamer to California, where he trained until 1914. At that time, the state of the country's roads was inconsistent; while roads could be decent in stretches surrounding cities, rural routes were almost uniformly dismal. Baker began a letter-writing campaign from California, pleading for individuals from across the country to help him plot a contiguous course across our continent. He had to devise a way of getting gasoline during the stretches of road where it wasn't readily available. Baker's entreaties were received by an enthusiastic public, who offered to pack gasoline to him by burro if need be. On this day in 1914, just three months shy of the First World War, Cannonball Baker, wearing leather riding trousers and carrying a one-gallon canteen, mounted his V-twin 1000cc Stutz Indian motorcycle and headed east toward Yuma, Arizona, with a raging sandstorm at his back. To combat thirst, Cannonball used the old Native American method of carrying a small pebble under his tongue. On the second day of his trip Baker ran out of gas just a few miles short of Agua Caliente, Arizona, and was forced to push his bike in the 119-degree desert heat. Equipped with a Smith & Wesson .38, Baker fought off a pack of dogs in Fort Apache. Dogs continued to hamper his trip; in Ellsworth, Kansas, a shepherd dog attacked his bike. "This dog seemed to have a great desire for the Goodyear rubber of my front tire," explained Baker. "The dog took a fall out of me which put me in bad shape, as I slid along the road on my elbows and knees. I kept the tire and the dog lost his life." In all, Cannonball traveled 3,379 miles across the U.S. Due to the poor roads and primitive "cradle-spring" shock absorption of his bike, he rode most of the way standing up. His feat made him a hero. Without a doubt, Cannonball's run reshaped the future of American motorcyclists. While Europe still clings to tight-handling sport bikes, Americans want nothing more than to hop on a big Harley and cruise the wide roads that stretch from sea to shining sea.

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May 04, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1920 Miller issued race-car patent

Harry Miller was issued a U.S. patent for a race car design that introduced many features later incorporated into race cars in the following decades. Among Miller's countless patented breakthroughs were aluminum pistons and engine blocks, off-beat carburetors, inter-cooled superchargers, and practical front-wheel drive. Born to German immigrants in Menomonie, Wisconsin, in 1876, Harry Miller shunned his father's encouragement to become a painter and chose instead a career in engineering. He dropped out of high school at the age of 15 to work in a local machine shop. A gifted tinkerer, Miller invented for the joy of it. He built what is said to have been the first motorcycle ever made in the United States by hooking up a one-cylinder engine to his bicycle. In the mid-1890s, Miller built the country's first outboard motor, a four-cylinder engine that he clamped to his rowboat. Miller never sought a patent for either invention. Miller left Wisconsin, in 1897, for Los Angeles, where he opened a machine shop. In 1905, he built his first car. His major breakthrough came in 1916, when he designed a race car for famed racer Barney Oldfield. His product, the Golden Submarine, was the fastest race car of its time. The Submarine made Oldfield the dominant force in the unregulated match races of the period. Having gained great recognition with the Golden Submarine, Miller directed his energy toward creating better race cars. He was the first man to concentrate exclusively on building race cars for sale. By the late 1920s, Miller was designing and building precision-tuned race cars and selling them for the exorbitant price of $15,000. Miller's ultimate achievement was the Miller 91, which he built for the 1926 Indy 500. The Miller 91 produced a minimum of 230hp at 7,000rpm, and it could be boosted to 300hp at 8,500rpm. At 3.3hp per cubic inch, Miller's car compares remarkably with today's super-charged Indy cars, which produce 4.5hp per cubic inch. Take into account that Miller's materials were limited--gaskets and lubricants were primitive, aluminum and chrom-moly steel rare, welding unreliable, and fuel capable of only meager compression ratios--and you see just what kind of genius Harry Miller was. With the benefits of modern technology, Miller's original 1926 racing engine would eventually produce over three times its original horsepower. His design remained competitive for nearly five decades. In 1992, one of Miller's 1500 cc race cars was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution, which displays the car alongside the last century's greatest engineering miracles.

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May 03, 2006

Ford Fusion vs. Toyota Camry

The Detroit News decided to pit the new Ford Fusion against the new Toyota Camry to see which was the better car and deal.

The full results are here, I will give a brief summary.

Our premise for this historic rematch was simple: If you're a family of modest means, with about $25,000 to spend on some new everyday wheels, which car offers the best value?

With the all-new Fusion supplanting the Taurus for model year 2006 and the long-lived Camry (the reigning sales champ) getting a major redesign for 2007, one of the two rivals is about ready to strike up the band once again.

The '06 Fusion starts at $17,795, including shipping. We tested a top-of-the-line Fusion SEL with lots of equipment and a sticker price of $25,650. The '07 Camry is priced from $18,850. We drove a midrange Camry LE with a modest number of extras and a bottom line of $24,266.

So they are comparing a top of the line Fusion for $25K and a mid-line, with little options Camry for $24K

Exterior Winner: Tie
Interior Winner: Fusion
Ride & Handling Winner: Fusion
Powertrain Winner: Fusion
Safety Winner: Camry
Overall Winner: Fusion

Considering the $1,384 price difference between our two test vehicles, the Fusion SLE seemed to offer so much more than the Camry LE, in terms of engine size and performance, as well as creature comforts and -- most surprising of all -- assembly quality.

I have said it many times and have heard it from other people many times, Toyota is getting to big for it's britches. The bigger they get the more they lack in style, design and quality.

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Today In Automotive History

1987 Allisons face mixed day at Talladega

The late Davey Allison recorded his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory at the Winston 500 in Talladega, Alabama, driving his #28 Ford Thunderbird. Davey, the son of racing legend Bobby Allison, was born into racing as a member of the Alabama Gang. His father Bobby was Alabama's most successful stock-car racer ever. Both men have come to be remembered for their triumphs and their tragedies at the Alabama Superspeedway in Talladega. On this day in 1987, while Davey won his first race, his father Bobby suffered a terrible crash in which his rear tire was pierced by a chunk of metal, causing his car to flip into the grandstand at over 200mph. After the crash, NASCAR mandated that all cars would carry carburetor plates to restrict the intake of their engines. Since then, all NASCAR races have been won at average speeds of around 170mph to 190mph. Carburetor plates have become a source of great contention since their adoption. Some racers believe that the speed limitations imposed by the plates create greater bunching on the track and, consequently, accidents that involve greater numbers of cars. Bobby Allison didn't believe it: "[Carburetor plates] are the best thing NASCAR has ever done. The availability of the knowledge, the technology and the commitment means nobody is ever going to separate from anyone else by too much. Without carburetor plates, they'd still be bunched up and we'd be having theses wrecks at 240mph instead of 190." Talladega is a notoriously fast track, and Davey loved to race there. Says Ford Thunderbird team owner Robert Yates, "Racing at Talladega with Davey Allison was like racing in his front yard. He must have got on that track and walked it in his sleep, because he knew it better than any other driver I went to Talladega with." Accordingly, Yates this year released a 10-year anniversary Ford Thunderbird called the "Alabama car." Covered in Davey Allison's familiar black-and-white-with-red-and-gold-trim paint scheme, the Yates Alabama car commemorates 10 years of racing history between the Yates team; its sponsor, Texaco; and the Superspeedway at Talladega. The proceeds from souvenir sales generated by the new car will be donated to Davey Allison's children. The last chapter in the story of the Allisons at Talladega is a tragic one. After his father, Bobby, suffered brain injuries in a terrible crash that ended his career at the Pocono Speedway, and after his brother Clifford was killed in a practice run, Davey died in a freak helicopter crash in 1993. Only a foot away from touching ground at the Speedway at Talladega, Davey's helicopter flipped and crashed. He'd come to watch a friend qualify for a race. Davey sustained serious head injuries and died after a half day in the hospital. At the peak of his career, one year after winning the Daytona 500, Davey Allison's life was cut short at the track that had made him a champion, in the state that called him its own.

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May 02, 2006

I'm Not Scary, I'm Creepy

You Are Creepy
Serial killers would run away from you in a flash.
How Scary Are You?
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Today In Automotive History

1918 GM buys Chevy

The General Motors Corporation (GM) acquired the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware. The deal was effectively a merger engineered by William Durant. The original founder of GM, Durant had been forced out of the company by stockholders who had disapproved of Durant's increasingly reckless expansionist policies a few years earlier. Durant started Chevrolet with Swiss racer Louis Chevrolet and managed to make the company a successful competitor in the economy-car market in a relatively short period of time. Still the owner of a considerable portion of GM stock, Durant began to purchase more stock in GM as his profits from Chevrolet allowed. In a final move to regain control of the company he founded, Durant offered GM stockholders five shares of Chevrolet stock for every one share of GM stock. Though GM stock prices were exorbitantly high, the market interest in Chevrolet made the five-for-one trade irresistible to GM shareholders. With the sale, Durant regained control of GM.

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May 01, 2006

Mr Weenie and Me


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Hyundai Chairman Arrested

Again, there has been nothing in the news or in the papers around here about this huge embarassement for Hyundai, yet if this was an American Auto Compay executive the media would be camping outside the HQ of the auto company calling for their head.

In a rare move against a powerful top business leader, South Korea arrested Hyundai-Kia Motors Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo on charges of embezzlement and other corruption.

Local TV showed the 68-year-old Chung being transferred to the Seoul Corrections Bureau after a Seoul court had issued the warrant to arrest him following hours of evaluation.

The arrest comes amid rising concerns in South Korea of a leadership vacuum at the family-controlled Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, which are driving to become the world's fifth-biggest automaker by 2010.

Prosecutors also are reportedly seeking to indict Chung's only 38-year-old son, Kia Motors President Chung Eui-sun, without detaining him.

The two Chungs and other high-ranking officials including Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Kim Dong-jin were questioned in the past month over whether the two automakers created and operated slush funds to get business and political favor.

Industry watchers said the arrest of Chung could delay the auto group's upcoming projects, including the construction of Kia Motor's first U.S. plant in Georgia.

Chung Mong-koo took control of Hyundai Motor in 1999 from his uncle Chung Se-yung. Later, he took over Kia Motors. Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors controls more than 70 percent of the South Korean auto market.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Quality Problems Fixed at Seven Plants, Ford Says

This problem was front page, in big bold letters, in all the newspapers this weekend. I bolded certain words in the paragraph below, all with negative connotations. Ford should be getting cudo's for finding the problem and acting on it.

This is the favoritism that I was talking about here, the Michigan media look for ways to bring down the American Auto Companies but when the Asian Auto Companies make mistakes nobody ever hears about them.

Yet, when Toyota recalled their brand new, highly toted, Camry it wasn't even in the newspaper.

Ford Motor Co. insists it will have seven assembly plants back in operation this week after suffering embarrassing production problems that temporarily idled some 15,000 workers last week. Ford spokesman Anne Marie Gattari said the automaker had identified a problem with an automatic-transmission mechanism that makes the vehicles shift smoothly between first and second gears. The part was out of spec and thus couldn't pass Ford's quality tests, Gattari said.

The problem has now been fixed, she said. In addition, none of the parts had actually been used in vehicles delivered to customers, she said.

The part was used in rear-wheel-drive transmissions sold on a wide range of vehicles including F-150 pickups, Expedition sport-utility vehicles, E-Series vans and buses, and the Lincoln Town Car, Gattari said. The problem forced Ford to idle the Dearborn Truck, Michigan Truck, and Wixom Assembly plants in Michigan along with plants in Norfolk, Va.; Avon Lake, Ohio; and Cuautitlan, Mexico. The truck side of Kansas City Assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo., also was shut down, she said.

The shutdown cost Ford the production of more than 4000 vehicles but Gattari said Ford has more than enough capacity to make up the production relatively quickly. In addition, Ford is sitting on large inventories of many of the vehicles impacted by the problem, including the F-150 pickup truck.

Ford is the midst of a major turnaround effort. The world's third-largest automaker lost $1.2 billion in the first quarter; the loss came primarily from the company's North American operations.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today In Automotive History

1902 First gas-powered "Loco" completed

The first prototype gasoline-powered Locomobile was completed at the company's factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Francis and Freelan Stanley created the original steam-powered Locomobile in 1898. "Yankee tinkerers," the Stanley brothers had been working on designs for steam-powered carriages for many years. Success came when one of their cars appeared at a Boston fair in October 1908. Interest in their cars, stemming from the debut of their lightweight, affordable vehicle, led them to undertake the construction of 100 cars. To put the brothers' ambition in perspective, one need only recognize that the largest American gasoline-powered auto producer in the country, Alexander Winton, made 22 cars in 1898; Pope Electric of Hartford, Connecticut, produced a few dozen. The Stanley Brothers' resolve to "mass-produce" inexpensive cars marked an important transition in automobile manufacturing. But only a few months into their venture, the Stanley Brothers sold their enterprise to Amzi Barber, America's sheet-asphalt tycoon. It was under Barber's direction that the Locomobile name became a brand. The 1899 Locomobile sold for $600 and, as its advertisements boasted, it was noiseless and odorless. Refreshing to think of, but the Locomobile's water tank held only 21 gallons, enough for just a 21-mile journey. Besides, starting a steam-powered engine was time-consuming and dangerous, as boilers frequently burned out. The gasoline burners that heated the boilers could backfire, potentially setting the car on fire. Sales of the Locomobile peaked in 1900 at 1,600, a remarkable figure at such an early date. The total was far greater than any other American automaker could produce, and it rivaled the French automaker, De Dion-Bouton, as the greatest car production in the world. Sales fell the next year, however, as the primacy of gasoline-powered automobiles was established. Gas-powered cars could go farther, faster, and with fewer hassles than steam-powered cars of comparable sizes. Barber hired automobile engineer Andrew Riker to design him a gas-powered vehicle. The car he designed sold for $5,000. The new Locomobile appealed to rich consumers, and the company shifted its focus from low-cost production for the masses to high-cost production for the elite few. The last Locomobile steamers were produced in 1904. The end of the steam era saw the end of the company's importance. Other firms had been building gas-powered automobiles better, for longer. Locomobile survived through World War I producing trucks for the war market. After the war it became one in the overflowing market of luxury cars. The company died in 1929 after having been briefly incorporated into one of William Durant's holding companies.

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